Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Let loose the blogs of warrrrrr!

Norm is considering his reply - not a problem, this is a part-time blog anyhow.

I was going to post on the relations between the war in Iraq, and the US civil war - hold that thought, it's one for more time, I think.

I just want to ruminate now on the extent of controversy in the blogosphere over the Iraq war - there do seem to be two quite distinct and hostile parties forming over this issue - whyfore?

My first answer could well be the ol' Hegelian identity of opposites malarky. See, conservatives don't find the war controversial, 'My country über alles, right or wrong!', only ultra-nationalists with a beef about 'natioinal sovereignty' might have any conservative doubts, but alea jacta est, they'd say. Neo-liberals are in fact, erm, Liberals, and form a part of the 'progressive' identity I'm examining here.

War and anti-war progressives are trying to occupy the same ideological space, and this war is turning into a measure of delineating what that space is, and the identities of these progressive camps.

Both sides are reduced to an emotional stance, a chasm of meaning over which they cannot communicate reduces them to an emotional semaphore. There are no longer common premises. Once the empirical has been thoroughly investigated (although there are still areas of empirical dispute) they are left with a pro-anti war feeling.

Unsurprisingly, I blame the left. Specifically, the anti-war left. The pro-war left enjoy the same advantages here that conservatives do - defending the actual. Their version won, they are defending something tangible and real. The anti-war left are defending a what if, what might have been.

Further, their tactics were ultimately of opportunism. They promoted the anti-war feeling - the SWP and its famous anger - it wants the workers to feel. They reduced the argument to an emotional content, to build a bigger movement, rather than try and build around a rational course.

Were I a reformist, I think I would have wanted to promote a rational political outcome of the anti-war protests, not an anti-Blair-lets-change-leaders feeling. Perhaps the example of revolutionary Spain. A law making a referendum required to be called before the country could go to war (with them as vote for the motion being conscripted first). A practical, tangible response, that could have garnered support from all sides, convinced they'd win the vote, but ultimately robbing lying, cheating politicians of the decision.

Of course, I don't believe I fall in either camp, and I'm not a reformist. I am not part of the warring identity, Impossiblists opposed the war as war, not any side of it, and oppose support for the resistance/insurgents/whatever now. I think the tangible opposition to war is socialism as an immediate and practical alternative. I'll continue to post about the war, for a while, developing this distinctive position, but I'll break out sometime soon.

Sheesh, and this was supposed to be a short post.

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